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Diet for esophagus problems: What to Eat for an Irritated Esophagus

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What to Eat for an Irritated Esophagus

Avocados are just one of the foods that can help heal esophagitis.

Image Credit: Alexander Spatari/Moment/GettyImages

When you have an irritated or inflamed esophagus, also known as esophagitis, eating, drinking and swallowing can be very painful.

In most cases, your esophagus will heal on its own, but in the meantime, it can be helpful to avoid irritating foods and slightly change your diet.

Tip

If you have an inflamed esophagus, steer clear of hot, spicy or acidic foods, and incorporate more soft foods that heal esophagitis.

Foods That Heal Esophagitis

If your esophagus is very painful and inflamed, try adding some foods that heal esophagitis. These might include:

  • Cooked fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Avocado
  • Fish

All of these are easier to swallow than raw fruits and vegetables and tougher or more firm protein sources. They can feel more soothing on your throat and esophagus.

Some of these foods also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce pain and swelling in your esophagus.

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and soft cheeses may be tolerated, so long as you don’t have an intolerance, according to Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. Ice cream, custards, puddings, sherbet and cottage cheese also count.

Avoid dairy products that contain nuts, seeds, spices, granola or whole fruits. Choose low-fat products over whole to reduce your saturated fat intake.

Keep Foods Cool or Room Temperature

In addition, stick to foods that are cool or at room temperature rather than very cold or very hot. They’ll feel better going down.

If swallowing is very painful, you can try switching to a pureed diet, which is easier to swallow. Just cook your foods until they’re very soft, put them in the blender with some liquid like milk or stock and puree them until they’re the consistency of smooth mashed potatoes.

In the worst-case scenario, you may need to stick to a full liquid diet, which includes foods like soups (warm, not hot), smoothies or yogurt, per the U. S. National Library of Medicine.

What Causes an Inflamed Esophagus?

Esophagitis is an irritation or inflammation of the lining of your esophagus, the tube that leads from your mouth to your stomach. Its symptoms usually include burning, pain with swallowing or chest pain in your breast bone area. In some cases, you may even notice bleeding when you cough.

It can be caused by a number of different things. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the most common causes of esophagitis are acid reflux, excessive vomiting (often due to an eating disorder), infection or certain medications, like aspirin or NSAIDs, some osteoporosis medications or doxycycline.

A less common form of this disorder is called eosinophilic esophagitis, and it’s caused by a food allergy. This type of esophagitis is rare, though.

In most cases, an inflamed esophagus that’s caused by certain medications, vomiting or infection will resolve on its own once the trigger is eliminated.

Conditions such as acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) release stomach acid up into the esophagus. This causes a burning sensation behind your breastplate, often referred to as heartburn. The burning feeling is often the acid damaging the lining in your esophagus. Stomach acid is often as low as pH 2.0, meaning it is very acidic.

If your condition is caused by acid reflux, GERD or a food allergy, it may take some time to identify your trigger foods so you can eliminate them and allow your symptoms to improve.

Esophageal pH Monitoring Tests

It’s unlikely that you’ll need to check your esophageal pH and acid levels unless you frequently experience pain after eating. Most people might have a little acid reflux every so often. It could be triggered by a particularly large meal or a reaction to a specific foodstuff.

If your doctor thinks you may have GERD or a similar condition, they may ask you to undergo an esophageal pH monitoring test.

The test involves passing a very thin tube down your esophagus and into your stomach. You keep the tube in place for a full day. After 24 hours, a sensor records the acidity levels in your esophagus. The test shows the general pH conditions.

There’s also a newer method of testing, the Bravo pH monitor, which uses a wireless pH probe and causes little to no discomfort, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

A low pH of 4.0 or less may suggest that you have acid reflux or similar digestive issues.

Still, normal value ranges may vary depending on the lab doing the test, per Mount Sinai. For this reason, you should talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

Foods to Avoid When Your Esophagus Is Inflamed

An inflamed esophagus usually isn’t caused by your diet, but certain foods in your diet may make it worse. It’s often helpful to keep a food journal so you can track your symptoms, learn which foods make you feel worse and avoid them.

Most of the time, esophagitis is caused by acid reflux or heartburn. When acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus, it can burn and damage the lining of your esophagus. Eating very spicy or very acidic foods can make your inflamed esophagus feel even worse because they can burn the inflamed tissue.

When your irritated esophagus is caused by heartburn, part of the diet to help it involves limiting foods that irritate this organ. The other part is avoiding foods that trigger heartburn in the first place.

The foods that cause heartburn can be different for everyone, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends avoiding these common trigger foods:

  • Fatty, greasy foods like fried chicken or french fries
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomatoes and tomato products
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate

In addition to eliminating these triggers, esophagitis diet restrictions also include citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons because their acid can irritate the esophagus.

Irritated Esophagus From Drinking

Sometimes, you can have an irritated esophagus from drinking certain beverages, like coffee or alcohol.

Coffee increases stomach acid, and alcohol is known to irritate the mucosal lining throughout your gastrointestinal tract, so they should both be avoided, especially if you have acid reflux.

Another reason to cut back on coffee is that when you drink it hot, the hot temperature can damage the lining of your esophagus. The same thing goes for hot tea, hot chocolate or even very hot soup.

The results of a research review published in the June 2015 issue of ​BMC Cancer​ found that people who drink very hot beverages (or eat very hot foods) have a greater risk of esophageal cancer than those consuming warm beverages. Researchers suspect it’s due to damage to the cells that line the esophagus.

If you have an irritated esophagus from drinking, try cutting back on coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate and all alcoholic beverages for a few weeks.

The best drink for esophagitis is something plain and non-acidic, like water. Chances are, you’ll feel better and your inflamed esophagus will have a chance to heal.

4 Other Helpful Tips for Esophagitis

In addition to what you eat, ​how​ you eat can have an impact on an inflamed esophagus.

The most important tip is to eat slowly and chew your food very well. Smaller bits of food that are chewed very well can travel down your esophagus much more quickly and easily.

2. Include a Drink With Your Meal

Make sure you drink while you eat to keep the food moist and easier to swallow. If you inhale your food too quickly, don’t chew it well or if your meal is too dry, it’s more likely to hurt your esophagus when you swallow.

Eating smaller meals can also be helpful for esophagitis because they require less stomach acid to be digested. If your stomach produces less acid, any heartburn will be minimized and your esophagus won’t be as irritated.

4. Avoid Eating Close to Bedtime

Finally, a tip that helps prevent acid from backing up into your esophagus is to eat dinner several hours before going to bed or lying down. If you stay upright after eating, you’ll have gravity to help you digest and the acid will stay in your stomach and out of your esophagus.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If your inflamed esophagus comes on suddenly as a result of a new medication you’re taking, ask your health care provider or pharmacist if esophagitis is one of the side effects. You may need to alert your doctor and ask about a medication change.

If you have a mild case of heartburn that’s causing esophagitis, it will probably resolve on its own once you eliminate any foods that trigger heartburn and irritate your esophagus. However, if your symptoms seem severe or continue to worsen, talk to your doctor.

The American College of Gastroenterology cites chronic irritation to the esophagus as a leading cause of a more serious condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, or even esophageal cancer. Therefore, seeking medical advice is highly recommended.

Monitor your symptoms, change your diet and see how your body reacts. If you don’t notice any improvements, you may have an underlying disorder that requires adequate treatment.

Dysphagia Diet | Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology

Updated 09/24/2018
Category: Diet

Dysphagia means difficulty with chewing or swallowing food or liquid. The dysphagia diet covers 5 levels for difficulty in swallowing. To understand how this might happen, it is important to know something about how swallowing occurs. First, food must be chewed thoroughly. Then it is moved to the back of the mouth by tightening the cheek muscles and pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth. From this point on the process becomes automatic — it is a reflex that people do not actively control. In “rapid- fire” succession, the soft palate closes the nasal airway to prevent food from backing into it, the airway into the lungs is closed, and the esophagus (food pipe) relaxes allowing food and liquid to enter it. The muscular esophagus then contracts in a wave-like action, sweeping the food along into the stomach. A blockage or a malfunction anywhere in this part of the body or in the nervous system controlling swallowing can result in dysphagia. There are two types:

Esophageal dysphagia occurs when food/liquid stops in the esophagus. This can happen in several ways.  Stomach acid can reflux into the esophagus. Over time, the reflux causes inflammation and a narrowing (stricture) of the esophagus. Food and eventually liquids feel like they are sticking in the middle and lower chest. There may be chest discomfort or even real pain. Fortunately, physicians can usually dilate (widen) this narrowing, and there is now treatment available to keep it from returning. Cancer, hiatus hernia, and certain muscle disorders of the esophagus are less frequent causes of esophageal dysphagia. Solid food is usually more of a problem than liquids

Oropharyngeal dysphagia involves difficulty moving food to the back of the mouth and starting the swallowing process. This type of dysphagia can result from various nerve or brain disorders such as stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, cancer of the neck or throat, a blow to the brain or neck, or even dental disorders. Depending on the cause, symptoms may include drooling, choking, coughing during or after meals, pocketing of food between the teeth and cheeks, gurgly voice quality, inability to suck from a straw, nasal regurgitation (food backing into the nasal passage), chronic respiratory infection, or weight loss. Liquids are usually more of a problem in oropharyngeal dysphagia.

The first step in treatment is to make the proper diagnosis. This involves a medical history and various tests to find the cause of the dysphagia. Often a team approach to treatment is needed. Several types of health care providers — physicians, registered dietitian, psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist — work together to develop the best program.

An important part of the treatment is helping the patient get adequate nutrition, while protecting against complications such as pneumonia from food or liquid getting into the lungs. Obviously, this requires a specialized diet. There are five different diet levels from puréed (level 1) up through modified regular food (level 5). The diets vary in texture and consistency, and are chosen depending on which would be most effective for a specific patient..

Nutrition facts

These diets are all nutritionally adequate. However, some patients may have difficulty taking enough fluid and food to get all the energy and nutrients they need. In this case, an adjustment to diet or treatment will be required.

Liquids

Fluids are essential to maintain body functions. Usually 6 to 8 cups of liquid (48-64 oz) are needed daily. For some dysphagia patients, this may present problems because thin liquid can be more difficult to swallow. In this case, fluid can be thickened to make it easier to swallow. However, close monitoring by the dysphagia team is required for anyone drinking less than 4 cups of thickened fluid a day or anyone not progressing to thin liquids within 4 weeks.

Calories

The greater problem for some patients is eating enough calories. The whole process of eating simply becomes too difficult and too tiring. However, calorie and protein intake can be increased by fortifying the foods the patient does eat.

  • Fortify milk by adding 1 cup of dry powdered milk to one quart of liquid milk. Use this protein fortified milk when making hot cooked creamed soups, sauces, milkshakes, and puddings. Also add margarine, sugar, honey, jelly, or puréed baby food to increase calories.
  • Add strained baby fruit to juices, milkshakes, and cooked cereals.
  • Add 1 jar of strained baby meat to soup, such as strained chicken noodle soup. Also add strained baby meats to sauces and gravies, and mix with strained vegetables.
  • Add juice to prepared fruit, cereal, or milkshakes.
Special Considerations
The following are some general guidelines for safe swallowing. Remember that dysphagia patients have individual requirements, so all of these guidelines may not apply to every patient.

  • Maintain an upright position (as near 90 degrees as possible) whenever eating or drinking.
  • Take small bites — only 1/2 to 1 teaspoon at a time.
  • Eat slowly. It may also help to eat only one food at a time.
  • Avoid talking while eating.
  • When one side of the mouth is weak, place food into the stronger side of the mouth. At the end of the meal, check the inside of the cheek for any food that may have been pocketed.
  • Try turning the head down, tucking the chin to the chest, and bending the body forward when swallowing. This often provides greater swallowing ease and helps prevent food from entering the airway.
  • Do not mix solid foods and liquids in the same mouthful and do not “wash foods down” with liquids, unless you have been instructed to do so by the therapist.
  • Eat in a relaxed atmosphere, with no distractions.
  • Following each meal, sit in an upright position (90 degree angle) for 30 to 45 minutes.
Level 1
Puréed Foods
Foods in this group are puréed to a smooth, mashed potato-like consistency. If necessary, the puréed foods can keep their shape with the addition of a thickening agent. Meat is puréed to a smooth pasty consistency. Hot broth or hot gravy may be added to the puréed meat, approximately 1 oz of liquid per 3 oz serving of meat.

CAUTION:

If any food does not purée into a smooth consistency, it may make eating or swallowing more difficult. For example, zucchini seeds sometimes do not blend well.

Hot Foods

Cold Foods

Puréed meats, poultry, & fish Puréed cottage cheese
Puréed tuna, ham, & chicken salad Puréed fruit
Pureed scrambled eggs & cheese Thickened juices & nectars
Baby cereals Thickened milk or eggnog
Thinned cooked cereals (no lumps) Malts
Puréed French toast or pancakes Thick milkshakes
Mashed potatoes Ice cream
Puréed parsley, au gratin, scalloped potatoes, candied sweet potatoes Fruit or Italian ice, sherbet
Puréed buttered or Alfredo noodles Plain yogurt
Puréed vegetables (no corn or peas) Smooth & drinkable yogurt
Puréed soups & creamed soups Smooth pudding, mousse, custard
Puréed scalloped apples Whipped gelatin
Gravies Sugar, syrup, honey, jelly
Sauces: cheese, tomato, barbecue, white, creamed Cream
Decaffeinated coffee or tea Non-dairy creamer
Margarine
Mayonnaise
Ketchup, mustard
Sample Menu, Level 1

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

  • orange juice 1/2 cup
  • cream of wheat
    1/2 cup
  • scrambled eggs with cheese 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea
    1 cup
  • whole milk 1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer
    2 Tbsp
  • ketchup 1 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 2 tsp
  • pineapple juice
    1/2 cup
  • puréed beef 3 oz
  • gravy 2 Tbsp
  • mashed potatoes
    1/2 cup
  • puréed fresh broccoli 1/2 cup
  • apple sauce 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated coffee
    1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer
    2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • puréed turkey barley soup 3/4 cup
  • puréed Hawaiian chicken 3 oz
  • mashed potatoes
    1/2 cup
  • puréed spinach
    1/2 cup
  • frozen yogurt 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea
    1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer
    2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories

1657

Fat

61 gm

Protein

92 gm

Sodium

2,590 mg

Carbohydrates

198 gm

Fiber

3,163 mg

Level 2
Minced Foods
Foods in this group should be minced/chopped into very small pieces (1/8 inch). The flecks of food are similar in size to sesame seeds.
Hot Foods Cold Foods
Minced meat, fish, poultry Cottage cheese
Minced stuffed fish Junior baby fruit
Flaked fish Semi-thickened juices
Junior baby meats Nectars
Minced soft cooked, scrambled, poached eggs Ripe mashed bananas
Minced soufflé & omelets Minced canned fruit
Minced soft French toast Pineapple sauce
Minced soft pancakes Milk
Cooked cereals Milkshakes
Minced potatoes Custard
Minced buttered or Alfredo noodles Puddings, including rice & tapioca
Minced vegetables Yogurt
Creamed soups Fruit ice, Italian ice, sherbet
Puréed vegetables soup or alphabet soup Whipped gelatin
Minced scalloped apples Junior baby desserts
Gravies Sugar, syrup, honey, jelly
Sauces: cheese, creamed, barbecue, tomato, white Cream
Decaffeinated coffee or tea Margarine
Sample Menu, Level 2
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • orange juice 1/2 cup
  • oatmeal 1/2 cup
  • scrambled eggs with cheese 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea 1 cup
  • whole milk 1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer
    2 Tbsp
  • ketchup 1 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 2 tsp
  • pineapple juice 1/2 cup
  • minced beef 3 oz
  • gravy 2 Tbsp
  • mashed potatoes 1/2 cup
  • minced fresh broccoli
    1/2 cup
  • applesauce 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated coffee
    1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer 2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • puréed turkey barley soup 3/4 cup
  • minced Hawaiian
    chicken 3 oz
  • mashed potatoes 1/2 cup
  • puréed spinach 1/2 cup
  • frozen yogurt 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea 1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer 2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories

2,022

Fat

80 gm

Protein

111 gm

Sodium

2,992 mg

Carbohydrates

231 gm

Potassium

4,182 mg

Level 3
Ground Foods
Foods in this group should be ground/diced into 1/4-inch pieces. These pieces of food are similar in size to rice.
Hot Foods Cold Foods
Ground meat, fish, poultry Cottage cheese
Ground meat salads (no raw eggs) Smooth fruited yogurt
Ground Swedish meatballs Fruit juices or nectars
Scrambled eggs or soufflés Ground canned fruit
Ground poached eggs Crushed pineapple
Cooked cereals Ripe bananas
Ground soft French toast Lemonade/Limeade (no pulp)
Ground potatoes Milk
Ground noodles Ice cream
Ground baked potato (no skin) Custard
Ground well-cooked frozen vegetables (no corn, peas, or mixed vegetables) Puddings or mousse
Ground canned vegetables Fruit ice, Italian ice, sherbet
Creamed soups Cream
Puréed vegetables soup or alphabet soup Non-dairy creamer
Ground scalloped apples Margarine
Gravies Mayonnaise
Sauces: cheese, creamed, barbecue, tomato, white Ketchup
Decaffeinated tea or coffee Mustard
Sample Menu, Level 3
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • orange juice 1/2 cup
  • oatmeal 1/2 cup
  • scrambled eggs with cheese 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea 1 cup
  • whole milk 1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer
    2 Tbsp
  • ketchup 1 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 2 tsp
  • pineapple juice 1/2 cup
  • ground beef 3 oz
  • gravy 2 Tbsp
  • mashed potatoes 1/2 cup
  • cooked spinach 1/2 cup
  • applesauce 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated coffee
    1 cup
  • whole milk
  • non-dairy creamer 2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • puréed turkey barley soup 3/4 cup
  • ground Hawaiian
    chicken 3 oz
  • mashed potatoes 1/2 cup
  • ground fresh broccoli
    1/2 cup
  • frozen yogurt 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea 1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer 2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories

2,022

Fat

80 gm

Protein

111 gm

Sodium

2,992 mg

Carbohydrates

231 gm

Potassium

4,182 mg

Level 4
Chopped Foods
Foods in this group should be chopped into 1/2-inch pieces. These pieces of food are similar in size to uncooked elbow macaroni or croutons (small bread cubes).
Hot Foods Cold Foods
Chopped meat or poultry Cottage cheese
Chopped Swedish meatballs Yogurt
Meat salads (ground or flaked meat) Milk
Flaked fish Milkshakes
Poached or scrambled eggs Soft, cold, dry cereal
Soufflés and omelets Soft bread (if approved by speech or occupational therapy)
Cooked cereals Fruit juice or nectars
Chopped French toast or pancakes Chopped canned fruit
Chopped noodles or pasta (no rice) Canned fruit cocktail
Chopped cooked vegetables (no frozen peas, corn, or mixed vegetables) Pudding, mousse, custard
Chopped canned small sweet peas Ice cream
Creamed soup or vegetable soup Fruit ice, Italian ice, sherbet
Canned chicken noodle soup Cream cheese
Chopped potatoes (all kind) Whipped topping
Gravies Whipped gelatin
Bacon dressing Sugar, syrup, honey, jam, jelly
Sauces: cheese, creamed, barbecue, tomato, white
Decaffeinated tea or coffee
Sample Menu, Level 4
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • orange juice 1/2 cup
  • oatmeal 1/2 cup
  • scrambled eggs with cheese 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea 1 cup
  • whole milk 1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer
    2 Tbsp
  • ketchup 1 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 2 tsp
  • pineapple juice 1/2 cup
  • chopped beef 3 oz
  • gravy 2 Tbsp
  • mashed potatoes 1/2 cup
  • chopped fresh broccoli
    1/2 cup
  • applesauce 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated coffee
    1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer 2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • turkey barley soup 3/4 cup
  • chopped Hawaiian
    chicken 3 oz
  • mashed potatoes 1/2 cup
  • cooked spinach 1/2 cup
  • frozen yogurt 1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea 1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer 2 Tbsp
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories

2,097

Fat

82 gm

Protein

113 gm

Sodium

3,213 mg

Carbohydrates

243 gm

Potassium

4,201 mg

Level 5 Modified Regular Foods
Foods in this group are soft, moist, regularly textured foods
Hot Foods Cold Foods
Soft, moist meat, fish, poultry Soft cheeses
Baked fish Cottage cheese
Meat Salads Cream cheese
Soufflés and omelets Yogurt
Eggs Milk
Stuffed shells Milkshakes
Spaghetti with meat sauce Cold dry cereals (no nuts, dried fruit, coconut)
Cooked cereal Crackers
French toast or pancakes Soft breads (no hard rolls)
Toast Fruit juices or nectars
Noodles or pasta (no rice) Canned fruit
Potatoes (all types) Ripe bananas
Soft, cooked vegetables (no corn, lima, or baked beans) Peeled, ripe, fresh fruit
Creamed soups or vegetable soup Cakes (no nuts, dried fruit, coconut)
Canned chicken noodle soup Plain doughnuts
Gravies Ice cream
Bacon dressing Pudding, mousse, custard
Sauces: cheese, creamed, barbecue, tomato, white Fruit ice, Italian ice, sherbet
Decaffeinated tea or coffee Whipped gelatin
Regular gelatin
Canned fruited gelatin molds
Sugar, syrup, honey, jam, jelly
Cream
Non-dairy creamer
Margarine
Oil
Mayonnaise
Ketchup
Mustard
Sample Menu, Level 5
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • orange juice  1/2 cup
  • oatmeal  1/2 cup
  • cheese omelet
  • toast  1 slice
  • decaffeinated tea  1 cup
  • whole milk  1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer
    2 Tbsp
  • ketchup  1 Tbsp
  • margarine  1 tsp
  • salt  1/4 tsp
  • sugar  2 tsp
  • jelly  2 tsp
  • pineapple juice  1/2 cup
  • hamburger on bun  3 oz
  • steak fries  1/2 cup
  • green beans  1/2 cup
  • applesauce  1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated coffee
    1 cup
  • whole milk  1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer  2 Tbsp
  • margarine  1 tsp
  • salt  1/4 tsp
  • sugar  1 tsp
  • ketchup  2 Tbsp
  • turkey barley soup  3/4 cup
  • Hawaiian chicken  3 oz
  • mashed potatoes  1/2 cup
  • fresh broccoli  1/2 cup
  • frozen yogurt  1/2 cup
  • decaffeinated tea  1 cup
  • non-dairy creamer  2 Tbsp
  • saltine crackers  6
  • margarine  1 tsp
  • salt  1/4 tsp
  • sugar  1 tsp
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories

2,851

Fat

120 gm

Protein

129 gm

Sodium

4,062 mg

Carbohydrates

327 gm

Potassium

4,609 mg

Commercial Thickening Agents
Product Manufacturer Phone
Thick n Easy American Institutional Products, Inc. (717) 569-1866
Thick-it Milani Foods, Inc. (800) 333-0033
Thick Set Bernard Fine Foods, Inc. (800) 538-3663
Thixx Bernard Fine Foods, Inc. (800) 323-3663

Textures/Consistencies of Foods

The following are examples of medium and thick liquids and foods.

Medium (nectar consistency):
  • eggnog
  • fruit nectars
  • (apricot, peach, pear)
  • honey
  • thick creamed soups
  • soft set pudding with added
  • milk
  • tomato juice
  • buttermilk
  • ice cream
  • (no nuts or fruit chunks)
  • milkshakes
  • Thick (yogurt or pudding consistency):
    • cooked hot cereal
    • pudding
    • custard
    • gravy
    • yogurt (no nuts or fruit chunks)
    • cottage cheese mixed in
    • blender with milk or fruit
    • thick malt and milkshakes

Thickening and Thinning Agents

Foods can be thickened or thinned to individual requirements. Many foods can be used to change a liquid to a different consistency. The amount of thickening agent needed to reach a certain food consistency varies depending on the food being thickened and on the thickening agent used.

How to Thin Liquids

  • Add hot milk-based liquids (hot milk or cream) to puréed soups, puréed vegetables, or cooked cereal.
  • Add other hot liquids (broth, gravy, sauces) to mashed potatoes, puréed or ground meats, and puréed or chopped vegetables. Butter or melted margarine may also be used.
  • Add cold milk-based liquids to cream, yogurt, cold soups, puréed fruits, or puddings and custards.

How to Thicken Liquids and Foods

  • Add baby rice or commercial thickener to hot milk-based liquids.
  • Add potato flakes, mashed potatoes, or flaked baby cereal to other hot liquids (soups, sauces, gravies).
  • Add plain unflavored gelatin, puréed fruits, banana flakes, or a commercial thickener to cold liquids.
  • Add potato flakes, mashed potatoes, thick sauces or gravies, canned puréed or strained meat (baby food), or a commercial thickener to puréed soups.
  • Add flaked baby cereal, flavored gelatin, cooked cream of rice or wheat cereal, or a commercial thickener to puréed fruits.
  • Add mashed white or sweet potatoes, potato flakes, sauces, or commercial thickener to puréed vegetables.

If a Food is Too Thin, Add One of the Following:

  • baby cereal
  • banana flakes
  • bread crumbs
  • cornstarch
  • cooked cereals (cream of wheat or rice)
  • custard mix
  • graham cracker crumbs
  • gravy
  • instant potato flakes
  • mashed potatoes
  • plain unflavored gelatin powder
  • plain sauces (white, cheese, tomato)
  • puréed fruits (baby food)
  • puréed meats (baby food)
  • puréed vegetables (baby food)
  • saltine cracker crumbs

If a Food is Too Thick, Add One of the Following:

  • broth
  • bouillon
  • gravy
  • juice
  • liquid flavored gelatin
  • melted hot butter/margarine
  • milk (hot or cold)
  • plain yogurt
  • strained puréed soups
Recipes
Fruit Shake
In a blender, place 1-1/2 cups of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit with 1 cup fortified milk. Mix until smooth.Fruit Blend
In a blender, mix 1/4 cup apple juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1 cup canned peaches or pears. Mix until smooth.High-Protein Smoothies
In a blender, mix 1 cup fruit-flavored yogurt and 1 cup fortified milk with soft, fresh, peeled fruit or soft, canned fruit, and 1 cup of cottage cheese. Mix until smooth.Cottage Cheese Pudding
Mix together 1/4 cup cottage cheese and 3 T baby fruit. Chill.

Creamed Vegetable Soup
In a blender, add 1/2 cup strained or very soft cooked vegetable; 1/2 cup fortified milk, cream, or plain yogurt, 1 tsp margarine; salt, onion powder, and crushed dried parsley flakes to taste. Mix to desired consistency.

Other Tips to Make Foods Easier to Chew and Swallow
  1. To avoid forming a hard crust on the top of a food or around the edges, cook the food in a covered casserole dish. To make soft scrambled eggs, cook the eggs in the top of a double boiler.
  2. To keep meat or fish moist, cook in tomato juice or tomato soup.
  3. To make puréed meat, first drain soft, cooked meat. Place meat in a food processor or blender to make a paste. Add hot liquid (broth) to the paste and thin to desired consistency.

 

Soft Food Diet for a Bruised Esophagus

When you swallow, food passes through your esophagus to your stomach. Heartburn and gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, are the most common esophageal disorders, but a bruised esophagus can also cause tremendous pain when you eat. A soft diet can reduce the pain that you get from eating, and a nutritionist can help you design a nutritionally adequate diet for your condition.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

A soft food diet is common for individuals who have had surgery or who have trouble chewing or swallowing, and it may allow your bruised esophagus to heal by preventing further irritation. A soft diet emphasizes naturally soft or highly processed foods, and it restricts foods that may scratch or tear your esophagus. The diet may also limit foods that cause gas or bloating because these conditions can also place stress on your esophagus, according to the Langone Medical Center.

Foods to Eat

A soft food diet allows soft raw, cooked and canned fruits without the skin, and canned and cooked vegetables, according to the Langone Medical Center. You can have cooked refined grains, such as white pasta and rice, and cereals as long as they do not have nuts or seeds. Other soft foods are ice cream, pudding, sugar and beverages.

Foods to Avoid

Foods That Help Your Braces Not to Hurt

You may feel pain when you eat hard foods such as:

  • most raw vegetables
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • dried fruits,
  • fruits with seeds or pits

Other foods to avoid are whole grain breads and other baked goods, popcorn, gristly meats, fish with bones and fried foods, such as

Spices, jams with seeds and coconut are also likely to injure your bruised esophagus.

Considerations

Even if a food is on your list of allowed foods for a soft diet, avoid it if it causes pain when you swallow it. A soft food diet may relieve pain or prevent further symptoms, but it is important to determine and treat any underlying medical conditions that may have caused your condition. For example, a bruised esophagus may result from esophageal varices, which are a sign of liver disease, according to Medline Plus 1. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor if you have a bruised esophagus.

  • Even if a food is on your list of allowed foods for a soft diet, avoid it if it causes pain when you swallow it.
  • A soft food diet may relieve pain or prevent further symptoms, but it is important to determine and treat any underlying medical conditions that may have caused your condition.

Diet and Barrett’s Esophagus – Barrett’s Esophagus

Many of the dietary recommendations for Barrett’s esophagus are similar to the diet recommended for patients with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Here are some recommendations for reducing GERD and decreasing the amount of acid and food exposure in the esophagus

Stay upright for 3 hours after eating – this will allow your food to digest more completely and reduce the amount of reflux you have when you lay down

  • Elevating the head of the bed – this can also decrease the amount of reflux that occurs when you lay down as gravity will help keep food in your stomach. Propping on pillows may not be as effective as putting blocks, books, or bricks under the upper posts of your bed. A big pile of pillows can cause you to hunch over, which may increase reflux
  • Eat a low-fat diet – lower fat meals will digest more quickly, so you’ll have less reflux
  • Don’t smoke – while smoking is more strongly associated with squamous cell cancer of the esophagus, it can also contribute to esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is the kind of esophageal cancer related to BE
  • Reduce caffeine intake – caffeine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus. When this muscle is relaxed, you’re more likely to have reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. A little caffeine is probably okay, but multiple cups of coffee a day is too much. Remember that a standard size cup of coffee is actually pretty small, so one giant cup of coffee is actually equal to 2 or 3 cups of coffee! Many carbonated sodas also contain caffeine and tea (hot and iced) also contain some caffeine. To find out the caffeine content of beverages, a quick internet search for ‘caffeine content’ will pull up several sources, such as this one: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm
  • Alcohol – drink in moderation. Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and can increase reflux. However, there are some studies that suggest moderate wine or alcohol intake can lower the risk of Barrett’s and esophageal adenocarcinoma (this will be addressed in a separate post)
  • Weight loss – weight loss will also help improve reflux symptoms. Obesity increases the risk of both Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer

– posted by Kerry Dunbar, MD

Oesophageal reflux diet sheet | Patient

Oesophageal reflux – also called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) – is a common cause of symptoms of upper tummy (abdominal) pain and chest pain. It is caused by acid from the stomach leaking up into the gullet (oesophagus).

Some foods are more likely to trigger reflux symptoms and it may help to look at how you eat as well as what you eat.

What is oesophageal reflux?

Oesophageal reflux is also known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). It most commonly causes a burning pain in the chest which comes on after eating. You may also have a pain in the upper part of your tummy (abdomen) or a sensation of acid coming up into your gullet (oesophagus).

What are the symptoms of oesophageal reflux?

The symptoms can be caused by several different factors in the body.

  • The stomach may be producing too much acid. This can happen if you are feeling stressed.
  • The muscle ring (sphincter) at the bottom of the gullet (oesophagus) may be too relaxed and open, allowing food and acid to reflux upwards. Alcohol and smoking both relax the sphincter.
  • In people with a hiatus hernia, stomach contents can reflux easily into the oesophagus
  • The stomach may be slow to empty after eating. This is more likely if you eat a fatty meal.
  • Something may be increasing the pressure in the tummy (abdomen), forcing stomach contents upwards. Factors which increase the pressure include tight clothing, obesity, pregnancy and coughing.

Which foods and other factors are likely to trigger oesophageal reflux?

It is helpful to try to identify whether there are any particular foods which trigger your reflux. It might be a good idea to keep a food diary for at least a week, recording what you eat and what symptoms you have.

There is quite a big list of foods which are said to cause reflux symptoms. However, they may not all apply to you. For some people, reflux may not be triggered by particular foods at all but by other factors. Sometimes the trigger may be a combination of foods and other factors.

There are lots of factors around eating which can make these symptoms worse:

  • Eating late at night. If possible, don’t eat a large meal within three hours of going to bed.
  • Eating just before you exercise.
  • Eating large meals.
  • Eating quickly.
  • Obesity. Even a moderate weight loss may help to reduce symptoms.
  • Having a lot of fluid to drink with a meal.

There are some foods which individual people find make reflux worse. Your food triggers may be different but these foods have all been suggested as reflux triggers:

  • Chocolate.
  • Mint.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Onions.
  • Garlic.
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons.
  • Caffeinated and fizzy drinks.
  • Coffee
  • Peppers.
  • Cucumber.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Processed meats – for example, salami, bacon.
  • Fatty foods: many people find that eating fatty foods increases their symptoms of reflux. However, recent medical research does not back up this recommendation.

What can I do to manage my oesophageal reflux symptoms?

It might be a good idea to cut all of the suggested foods out of your diet for a week or two to see if your symptoms disappear. If they do disappear then you could add these foods back into your diet one at a time to see if they are what is causing your reflux.

If your symptoms come back, perhaps because of other factors as listed above, you may need to cut out potential triggers again until the symptoms have settled down.

In general, a healthy diet is associated with a lower risk of reflux symptoms. In particular:

Esophagitis: Causes, Symptoms & Natural Self-Care